When King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king of Israel. The people of his kingdom appealed for some relief from the heavy requirements of them. The new king sought council of two groups, his wise elders and his peers. His elders told him if you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will respond in kind. His peers advised teach them a lesson and make your power known by telling them they have had it good and your requirements are much higher, like scorpions even.
I see plenty of evidence that leaders continue to seek similar council on how to lead.
While wise and wildly successful organizations like Southwest Airlines signal servant leadership and respected thought leaders like Jim Collins give us Level 5 Leadership, that’s not really how most of us have ever been led (especially when things aren’t going well) or what we see our peer group doing. Sure, it stands rational to align your service-value chain with how you operate and deliver value – leaders serving associates / organization members, who in turn serve external customers, who in turn chose your organization, fulfilling your organizations purpose and delivering value for stakeholders – but that’s not what my peers do. Do you know what they will think and say? And, being served has its perks. I have the power to…
Great leadership is delivered through individual choices to serve. Great organizations don’t exist without aligning leaders at all levels to make the choice to serve.
Choose service. Not to self-actualize and for virtuous altruism alone, but to deliver enduring value and effectiveness.